Wait For The Light.

I know how easy it is to be in a rush to capture that perfect image. Sometimes you get excited by a subject and you just have to capture it. But, before you snap that shutter make sure you are getting the best light on your subject that you can.

If you are in harsh sunlight and you can move to open shade give that a try to minimize the contrast and harsh shadows. If it’s mid day and you can be at the same location in the evening or early morning maybe wait to take the shot for that better light.

Sometimes though, you have a subject that’s moving and you have no choice but to get what you get or don’t get it at all. Such as the hot air balloon I spotted this morning on my way to work. It was moving pretty quickly across the sky and I love photos of hot air balloons. I had to take the shot.

20120530 _MG_7485It’s nice and sharp but it’s a bit blah. But, I did get a nice shot of it.

Then I noticed the sun starting to peek over the clouds to the east and I decided to wait just a few more minutes. Here is the result of that little bit of patience.

20120530 _MG_7486Much better. The sun warmed up the scene a bit, gave the balloon a nice glow and gave it more dimension due to the directional lighting.

Just goes to show you that just a few minutes can make a huge difference and if you just look around for the light and watch for the changing conditions, you can make some really nice art.

Chris.

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Wait For The Light.

I know how easy it is to be in a rush to capture that perfect image. Sometimes you get excited by a subject and you just have to capture it. But, before you snap that shutter make sure you are getting the best light on your subject that you can.

If you are in harsh sunlight and you can move to open shade give that a try to minimize the contrast and harsh shadows. If it’s mid day and you can be at the same location in the evening or early morning maybe wait to take the shot for that better light.

Sometimes though, you have a subject that’s moving and you have no choice but to get what you get or don’t get it at all. Such as the hot air balloon I spotted this morning on my way to work. It was moving pretty quickly across the sky and I love photos of hot air balloons. I had to take the shot.

20120530 _MG_7485It’s nice and sharp but it’s a bit blah. But, I did get a nice shot of it.

Then I noticed the sun starting to peek over the clouds to the east and I decided to wait just a few more minutes. Here is the result of that little bit of patience.

20120530 _MG_7486Much better. The sun warmed up the scene a bit, gave the balloon a nice glow and gave it more dimension due to the directional lighting.

Just goes to show you that just a few minutes can make a huge difference and if you just look around for the light and watch for the changing conditions, you can make some really nice art.

Chris.

Outdoor Flash Photos

I’ve been meaning to take my lighting set up outside. Today was that day. I needed to experiment.

I started just with the Canon 430 just in my hand off to camera left and up a little. I think I was around 1/8 power here maybe 1/16th. I snapped a couple of the kids to see what I would get. I was after a nice blue sky so I adjusted my exposure so I would be about 1 stop under exposed. The flash took care of the kids.

08252010 _MG_6521 50D

Throw Some Light Our Way Dad!!

I liked the look but thought it may be a little harsh with the bare flash. I grabbed my light stand and umbrella and tried some more. This one is the one I liked the best.

So Serious!

I’m not sure which look I like the best. I like the harsh pop of the bare flash with the darker sky but I also like the softer look of the umbrella shot. What do you think?

Oh, of course being the Dad that I am I had to play a joke on them too. I had them hold the umbrella up asking them to make sure it did not touch the ground as it was bad for the umbrella. As they were laughing and looking up at the umbrella I took this shot…

I'll Hold It.....What The?!

They didn’t find it too funny. Me on the other hand, well I had to put my camera down. Any photos taken after this would have had some pretty bad camera shake, I was laughing so hard!

Chris.

Outdoor Flash Photos

I’ve been meaning to take my lighting set up outside. Today was that day. I needed to experiment.

I started just with the Canon 430 just in my hand off to camera left and up a little. I think I was around 1/8 power here maybe 1/16th. I snapped a couple of the kids to see what I would get. I was after a nice blue sky so I adjusted my exposure so I would be about 1 stop under exposed. The flash took care of the kids.

08252010 _MG_6521 50D

Throw Some Light Our Way Dad!!

I liked the look but thought it may be a little harsh with the bare flash. I grabbed my light stand and umbrella and tried some more. This one is the one I liked the best.

So Serious!

I’m not sure which look I like the best. I like the harsh pop of the bare flash with the darker sky but I also like the softer look of the umbrella shot. What do you think?

Oh, of course being the Dad that I am I had to play a joke on them too. I had them hold the umbrella up asking them to make sure it did not touch the ground as it was bad for the umbrella. As they were laughing and looking up at the umbrella I took this shot…

I'll Hold It.....What The?!

They didn’t find it too funny. Me on the other hand, well I had to put my camera down. Any photos taken after this would have had some pretty bad camera shake, I was laughing so hard!

Chris.

Should You Purchase That Gear Or Travel To That Place?

I’ve been thinking about gear and travel lately and exactly what I need/want.

There is a pile of gear that I want…..really want. Like the new Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II. Oh man, would I like that. But it’s expensive. The last price I saw here in Edmonton was $2600.00CA. That would pay for my family’s return flight to California! Add to that the price of the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS at $1500.00CA and that pays for our hotel rooms. And the Canon 1D Mark IV at $5100.00CA, well that purchase alone would pay for the whole trip.

What is more important a couple of lenses that will still be available when my kids are older, or that family vacation while the kids still want to do those kinds of things? Sorry gear heads, I must go with the family vacation. The gear I have is more than enough. A Canon 50D, the Nifty Fifty and a Tamron 18-270mm are perfect for any photography I plan to do for the near future. My kids will only be kids for a short time.

It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about this the last few days and today I read a post from the Digital Photography School about this very thing. It’s entitled Buy Less Gear: Travel and Experience More. Funny how karma works isn’t it. Photography isn’t about gear it’s about vision. Sure the gear is part of it but seeing the light and visualizing the photograph you want to make is much more important that the gear. Knowing your existing gear inside and out and knowing the basic techniques of photography will go a lot farther by far than any new camera body and lenses will ever take you.

Sorry Canon, I won’t be getting those 2 lenses or the 1D Mark IV just yet but one day I just may. Of course if you would like to donate them too me I would do my best to use them to their full potential. 🙂

Chris.

Should You Purchase That Gear Or Travel To That Place?

I’ve been thinking about gear and travel lately and exactly what I need/want.

There is a pile of gear that I want…..really want. Like the new Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II. Oh man, would I like that. But it’s expensive. The last price I saw here in Edmonton was $2600.00CA. That would pay for my family’s return flight to California! Add to that the price of the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS at $1500.00CA and that pays for our hotel rooms. And the Canon 1D Mark IV at $5100.00CA, well that purchase alone would pay for the whole trip.

What is more important a couple of lenses that will still be available when my kids are older, or that family vacation while the kids still want to do those kinds of things? Sorry gear heads, I must go with the family vacation. The gear I have is more than enough. A Canon 50D, the Nifty Fifty and a Tamron 18-270mm are perfect for any photography I plan to do for the near future. My kids will only be kids for a short time.

It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about this the last few days and today I read a post from the Digital Photography School about this very thing. It’s entitled Buy Less Gear: Travel and Experience More. Funny how karma works isn’t it. Photography isn’t about gear it’s about vision. Sure the gear is part of it but seeing the light and visualizing the photograph you want to make is much more important that the gear. Knowing your existing gear inside and out and knowing the basic techniques of photography will go a lot farther by far than any new camera body and lenses will ever take you.

Sorry Canon, I won’t be getting those 2 lenses or the 1D Mark IV just yet but one day I just may. Of course if you would like to donate them too me I would do my best to use them to their full potential. 🙂

Chris.

To HDR Or Not To HDR? That Is The Question.

I’ve been noticing a huge increase in the number of HDR images showing up lately. Some are very surreal and some are much more natural looking. I’ve been thinking about trying it and have been convinced that I need to by my Flickr friend The Bruce. Bruce has been dabbling in the HDR world lately and I’ve really liked the images he has produced. So I thought I’d give it a go. Why not.

So, I downloaded a trial of Photomatix and started to experiment. I used a single photo and outputted a normal exposure, -2 and +2 to simulate the bracketing. Hard to bracket when the wind is blowing so hard.

I took this photo of my kids on Canada Day and I like it but it’s missing so much of the contrast that was there for my eyes to see. I’d like you to see more of what I saw.

182.365 Happy Birthday Canada

The first one I completed was this one but the white flags went to gray. I love all the detail in the clouds, leaves, and the kids clothing but the flags really turned me off.

First Tone Mapped Image Attempt

I opened it up in Lightroom and used the adjustment brush to increase the exposure on the white areas being very careful to use the auto mask feature and not bleed into the surrounding areas too much.

First Tone Mapped Image Attempt - Whitened Flags

This one I really like. Look at the detail in their clothes. All that was lost in the original even though I used my flash. The range just was not there.

I think you can expect to see more HDR work in my Flickr stream from now on. I really like how this turned out.

Chris.